Volt Birth Watch 81: Voltillac and Voltiac Threaten 'Vette Development
Popular Mechanics (PM) reveals that GM's tri-channel brand strategy hasn't eliminated the usual corporate infighting. Susan Docherty, GM's Veep of Buick, Pontiac and GMC, stakes her claim on company resources. "My personal take: I think [the Volt] would make a great Pontiac. What greater brand than Pontiac to charge ahead with that technology?" Is that a bad pun, a trick question or a trick question based on a bad pun? PM answers: Pontiac could torque-bias a electric – gas plug-in hybrid model to fit the brand's increasingly dubious performance remit (say goodbye to that headline 40-mile EV-only range). Meanwhile and in any case, PM warns that all this green goodness could exact a heavy toll on GM's dwindling, Volt-biased product development budget. "We've already heard that GM may offer a Cadillac version of the Volt. And since the Volt's "E-Flex" powertrain has been such an expensive project for the company, it will need to [s]badge engineer the Chevy Volt as quickly as possible[/s] diversify those resources across at least three brands. In fact, GM has said the Volt is its single most important future project. So much so that we recently reported it could lead to less engineering resources for the next-gen Corvette (the one after the Corvette ZR1)." Your TTAC takeaway: even $50b of your hard-earned tax money can't fix stupid.
The Vette is the antithesis of GM's traditional product strategy. A long term product with gradual improvements over each year. GM just has to do a gradual improvement on the Vette and they'll still make some money on it. The horsepower wars are over, and the product should mature with the times.
I think it's important to keep the Vette and focus refinement of all their cars. My G5 rattles like a tin can and highway noise inside cabin like a sprint car on a flat track. This is unacceptable for a 62K car. Secondly, how about dropping some of those brands no one is buying like Pontiac, Buick, GMC and Hummer. Focus like a beam on refinement and ergonomics of the remaining brands. Saturn - low line. Chevy cars and trucks - mid line no cheap stuff Saturn has that, which would then incur residual sales from the best price/performance car in the world - Corvette. Cadillac - high end. - Like Lexus not a blinged out sububan, Fire the likes of Susan Docherty and all her lackies.
If the MSRP of the Volt creeps up any higher, they'll have no choice but to sell it as a Cadillac.